Curious: Pornographic furniture collection leaves researchers blushing

Lots of people believe that a great gulf separates us from people who lived in the past: funny hats from way back when, strange customs or old-fashioned forms of language. But all these are simply trivial details. The most intimate feelings and tendencies of humanity, then and now, are unchanged. And Catherine the Great was no exception.

Wikipedia/Catherine II by J.B.Lampi (1780s, Kunsthistorisches Museum).jpg/Nachahmer von Johann Baptist von Lampi

The Russian Tsarina with German roots is a famous historical figure, because she catapulted herself on to the throne and reinvigorated Russia. She is also considered to be an example of an enlightened absolutist ruler, who corresponded with the philosophers Voltaire and Denis Diderot. But a discovery connected to her led to a lot of excitement — for a particular reason.


During World War Two, pieces of pornographic furniture were found near St. Petersburg that could be attributed to Catherine the Great. Even though these particular tables and chairs were unfortunately destroyed, photos of them taken by German soldiers remained.

Given the tales about sexual excess that surround Catherine, it's no surprise that people have made connections between her and this furniture. For example, it is said she had sex with horses, as well as taking part in orgies. Of course, the majority of these rumours were invented, but during her reign, she did have around 20 lovers.


In any case, the palace where the furniture was discovered did not belong to Catherine, but to Grigori Orlov, one of her lovers and an officer in the Russian Army. Also, the design of the furniture implies that it actually comes from a later time.


However, that doesn't conclusively clear things up. But whoever this furniture belonged to, it clearly shows that the people of today are really not so different from people in the past.


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